Rest, And Specifically Sleep, Play a Major Role in Athletic Performance (Sleep for Performance and Recovery in Athletes) (Report)
In their quest for excellence, athletes have to cope with tough training programmes, and perform well in competitions on a regular basis. Players from top clubs may have additional commitments such as inter-provincial league matches and tournaments, or representing their country in international competitions. The repetitive and seemingly unrelenting match fixtures, often combined with the stress of travel, might push athletes beyond their physiological and psychological limits. Numerous authors have mentioned the importance of the various factors that can influence an athlete’s performance, with non-training elements having a major influence on training itself. Therefore, factors outside the realm of training should also be considered for their role in the complete regeneration of the elite athlete. For instance, food and sleep are seen as two of the most crucial physical essentials for maintaining a sound and healthy state of living. (1,2) In a recent South African survey involving 890 elite players from field hockey, netball, rugby and soccer, respondents indicated that they view sleep as the most important strategy for recovery. (3) However, information on sleep hygiene is often neglected or athletes are given brief, simplistic recommendations.